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Tag: Charter amendments


Pierce County voters aren’t the only ones considering ranked choice voting

As I reported today, Pierce County voters are considering whether to repeal ranked choice voting just three years after adopting it. But they’re not the only ones considering the voting system.

Voters in St. Paul, Minn., will decide whether to adopt the system next month. Minneapolis voters already have approved the system and will use it for the first time.

Here’s an article on ranked choice voting from Saturday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press. It quotes Pierce County Auditor Jan Shabro:

“It took a year of preparation and $750,000 in software,” said County Auditor Jon Shabro, who supplied facts

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Pierce charter amendment supporters, opponents squabble over campaign cash

Supporters and opponents of three proposed Pierce County charter amendments have been trading jabs recently.

Alex Hays, president of the Pierce County Better Government League, which supports the three amendments, has accused opponents of accepting “secret campaign cash” from an out-of-state group.

State Public Disclosure Commission records show Citizens Against Rigging the System, which opposes the charter amendments, has accepted $22,000 from Fair Vote, a Maryland nonprofit. According to its web site, the group advocates for election law changes it believes will increase voter participation and give voters “more meaningful ballot choices.”

Fair Vote has contributed more than 80 percent of the money raised by Citizens Against Rigging the System.

Hays says the contributions undermine the principal that “local issues should be decided by local people.” He contends Fair Vote has not disclosed its contributors, so voters don’t know who’s ultimately behind the contributions. And he suggests the contributions are illegal because Fair Vote is a nonprofit and can’t support a political campaign.

Poppycock, says Kelly Haughton of Citizens Against Rigging the System. Or words to that effect.

In a statement released following Hays’ accusations, Haughton said IRS regulations allow nonprofits like Fair Vote to devote up to 20 percent of their income to advocacy for or against ballot measures and legislation.

Haughton noted the Fair Vote board is chaired by Washington resident Krist Novoselic, a former Tacoma resident. He said Fair Vote’s financial backers include the Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation.

Haughton contends Hays is trying to change the subject from unpopular charter amendments proposed by incumbent politicians to help themselves.

Near as I can tell, Haughton is right about IRS regulations. I found this in a “frequently asked questions” document on the IRS web site.

May a section 501(c)3 organization make a contribution to a ballot measure committee (committees supporting or opposing ballot initiatives or referenda)?

Yes, a section 501(c)3 organization may make a contribution to a ballot measure committee (committees supporting or opposing ballot initiatives or referenda), but it must include such contributions in its lobbying calculations for purposes of determining whether a substantial part of its activities consist of attempting to influence legislation.

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Public forum on state, local ballot measures Wednesday night

The Tacoma Public Library and the League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County will sponsor a public forum on several ballot measures Wednesday night.

News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan will moderate a discussion of the following issues:

• Initiative 1033, which would cap the growth of state and local government general fund revenue, based on an annual rate of inflation and population growth.

• Referendum 71, which would expand domestic partnership benefits for gay couples in Washington.

• Pierce County Charter Amendment 1, which would move elections for county executive and council to odd-numbered years by 2015 and increase term

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